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Dec 3, 2014

Is this muslin good enough for a coat?



Fortuitous timing.

I picked up my mail yesterday and discovered an envelope containing Simplicity 9893 (above), a gift from MPB reader Michael C.  As you know, I've been toying with the idea of making myself another coat and have all but abandoned the idea of the dressy balmacaan overcoat from the Japanese coat pattern book.  I know I'd get more use out of something sportier.

I had recently cut Burda 3402, which I purchased a few months ago.  I'm guessing it dates from the 1990's.  Initially, it looked promising.



As I looked at the line drawings more closely and inspected the pattern pieces, however, I realized that the cut is very dated -- way too wide in the shoulders (with deep facings along the back) and narrowing down toward the hips.

Burda 3402

Burda 3402

Simplicity 9893, on the other hand, is more classic, with a Western-style front and back yoke detail that is subtle enough not to scream rodeo.  The pattern dates from 2001.

Simplicity 9893

Today I made a muslin of it.  The fit, as I expected, is boxy, but will look much better made up in a stiffer fabric and with a lining (maybe something quilted).







The collar -- which is just one piece, like a bowling shirt -- can be easily switched out for something with a shaped band for more oomph.  Pocket possibilities are endless; I'm certainly not limited to the ones from the pattern.

An inner drawstring (or back waistband with elastic inserted) could give the jacket a shape more like the Barbour below:



Epaulets and a band collar and it looks more like this:



Done up in melton wool, it resembles this Filson jacket I got Michael for his last birthday:



A few other variations:





With American men's outerwear patterns, you simply have to be able to look beyond the pattern envelope and be willing to tweak.  Hardware, pockets, and other details can turn a basic style into something more eye-catching.

Do you agree that this muslin, if not amazing as-is, is a decent base upon which to make a nice looking lined winter jacket?  A fabric possibility (from my stash) is this heavy cotton-nylon plaid:



Or the liver-colored melton I bought a couple of weeks ago:



I'm open to suggestions.

Have a great day, everybody!

35 comments:

  1. Nice muslin but the sleeves are pulling and there are wrinkles in the body – is it the fabric or do the shoulders have to be lifted?
    Vancouver Barbara

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    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure it's the fabric.

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    2. Humor me, but try some stiff underlining in the shoulder/yoke area on the muslin first? (I mean, you can throw some light cardboard in there, or felt, or an old placemat). It does look big in there, and it's hanging from your top closure.

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  2. P.S. The Burda is a traditional Barn Jacket – the kind with the corduroy collar and plaid cuffs. When you're out at the barn feeding the animals and it's cold, you probably want a few layers underneath, hence the roominess. Great pattern if that's what you need. It has a lot of nice details.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  3. The muslin looks good, I lean towards the plaid, but either.
    Jeannie in Seattle

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  4. I do like the variation you have shown with the epaulets and the pockets with the "V" shaped flaps and nehru collar. I think that brings it to more current fashion. As far as the fabrics you have there..I think either one would be nice. I'd personally lean more to the solid just because I'm not much of a patterned fabric person....but you can pull off the plaid. Have you ever worked with leather at all? I wonder how the plaid would look with some coordinating leather accents....like the epaulets and the pocket flaps...just a thought. Can't wait to see how you end up creating this jacket.

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  5. I love this kind of post - it's very helpful to shortcut a whole lot of shopping around! I've just been reorganizing my Pinterest boards with a view to gathering similar RTW shapes, and identifying appropriate patterns.

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  6. Of the pictures you've posted, the Barbour is by far my favorite with second place going to the one just following it.

    My impression of the muslin is that it's too much like a house coat: arms too wide, torso too wide, few details (I'd prefer a Western yoke in a much slimmer silhouette, like a work jacket a cowboy would actually wear), no belt or drawstring for such a long length, etc. It would look great on Agnes Moorehead.

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    Replies
    1. I may narrow the torso a few inches; not sure about the sleeves...

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    2. Just my gut reaction but once you add external pockets and other features, it will visually bulk very quickly. As with a really great pair of shoes or boots, a form-fitting parka/jacket/coat is one of the sexiest garments a guy can wear. For this reason and for warmth, I'd go in the direction of layering rather than a thick lining (but I would definitely line it).

      You're in very good shape and I see too much shapeless, sack-like outerwear that diminishes the physiques of both men and women. My $0.02.

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  7. it pretty much fits you like the picture on the envelope. I would give it a little shaping at the sides. I like the shorter band collar but you would look good in any of the variations above.Color, I am a red girl myself so bright works for me. I don't care for the liver color....find a classic pattern that you can wear to death.

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  8. Peter, i like the following:
    1. you are starting to venture where most great sewers have to go .. creating your own designs from basic commercial patterns. What I am seeing in what you are doing is: using a basic shape pattern and creating the high end fashion looks you want .. keep going .. take the basic shape add the details you want .. and make a great garment

    2. fabric choices .. i wish you would choose fabrics for you and not cathy ... dusty pink .. boring .. your coloring .. go bold red, kelly green, even go blue based shocking pink ... get away from boring fabrics and colors .. you home sew .. so go for bold .. not boring

    3. i would love you to put together a collection of clothing .. jackets pants shirts and bring to gether the designer in you .. so express yourself thru fabric that is all grouped in color and your clothing designs for you

    WHY DON'T YOU JUST ENROLL IN THE FIT PROGRAM FOR MENSWEAR WITH A YEAR IN MILAN ?????

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    Replies
    1. Amen! Would love to see what you come up with by taking it to the next level.

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    2. @Corey Such great ideas! Love that encouragement!! I agree that Peter is amazing and can only imagine where his creativity will take him!

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    3. Thanks i would love it if peter would tell kathy to take her dusty pink fabric and make a blanket ... so he can get on and make something interesting and not boring .. like all the things he has made that you can get made in Bangladesh .. he needs to pick great fabric in great colors .. silks great cashmere great colors .. and wake up when comes to making clothing .. boring is out

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  9. I wish I still had my barn coat from the '90's! The pocket flaps were leather, and the lining was a fabulously soft flannel. I just wanted to note that in my opinion, the back yoke looks very western/rodeo, in a not-so-subtle way. It might be worth your time to consider options for taming the center back point.

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  10. Your muslin is a dead ringer for a coat I made for myself in the '90s (from a 'Big 4 unisex pattern). I wore it for a couple of seasons before realising it looked like a lab coat. Couldn't wear it again after that, so it was donated.

    Spud.

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  11. I like the Simplicity pattern and either fabric would be great. why not make both? Make up the yoke as in the pattern with the plaid fabric and when you make up the liver colored wool, draft a straight yoke. Very easy to make that modification. Remember not to take out too much ease or you will not be able to take advantage of the warmth that layering gives you. You must have room for sweaters, a vest, whatever, or you will feel like a sausage and there will be no layers of air to help keep you warm.

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  12. The Filson jacket and the last example would make me take a second look. I think they would be very interesting and stylish in the liver-colored melton. It would definitely be a one-of-a-kind jacket.

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  13. This looks like it fits you well and In a firmer fabric will give the coat more structure. I like it. The fit looks good. I like a little room in my coats. Have you ever seen the Adele P. Margolis books? In her, How To Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter, she gives info on how to add ease from a sloper for a jacket and coat. If your interested in playing around with fit you could take an existing shirt that fits the way you like and then add the necessary ease for a jacket or coat and make your own pattern. Her book is for womens clothing but the same info can be applied to anyone.

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    Replies
    1. I DO own that one -- I'll take another look!

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  14. Would love to see a brighter color, but leather would be a great accent. Either for the epaulets or the pockets. Nip in the waist a bit for shape. Maybe a drawstring. Good luck....can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  15. I like the style. I think once you add a nice warm insulation and liner it will fit great. Yes, pocket possibilities are endless.

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  16. I must say I don't love the back yolk. To me it does kind of scream rodeo. After 30 years in LA I moved to Wyoming & I'll tell ya, seeing that style gets old! It always looks dated to me. Probably b/c so many older men wear the same western shirts w/snaps & "blazers" they had 30 & 40 years ago w/elbow patches...& cowboy boots, of course. :) I really love the last style you posted, the charcoal gray one.

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  17. I like how the muslin looks! Kind of screaming over the prospect of four bulky pockets. Would suggest doing slanted tops on the bottom two, ditching one chest pocket and make the other chest pocket suitable for a cellphone or mp3 player. Oh and reflective trim along flaps and back yoke. Drivers are not looking for everyone else sharing the road...so be visible.
    Leaning towards the plaid for the winter coat. The melton might be good for a long waistcoat project with tails.

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  18. P.S. I'm sure Peter & Michael & the dogs would highly entertain a sojourn in Milan should blogging fans crowd-fund trip/lodging/schooling & supplies/living expenses. Or put all of your card loyalty points into cash that will pave the way to Italy...;)

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  19. with the white muslin, I keep thinking lab coat,
    You have a slim physique, so even if you wear layers underneath, I think your future jacket should be a slimmer fit, I didn't care for the bulky, outer cargo pocket type things on some of your examples, seemed a little farmy or trucker-y, no offense to farmers or truckers or wearers of carhartt type clothes, I did like the charcoal jacket,

    can't get with the dusty rose, is it my imagination or does that color wash you out? check and see, seems a pain to make something from scratch only to have it "harsh your sexy"

    one day this summer I wore a soft, brown shirt (unflattering) and a woman down looked right in my face and said "hashtag beat down in the city" , the nerve,
    I want to keep the shirt, so it is going to take a dye bath and will live on in a soft navy or charcoal, both those colors play nice with my pale skin tone and blue-gray eyes

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    Replies
    1. I also think I need something more fitted...

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  20. After all this help, all I'll add is, yes, the collar needs a stand.

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  21. I like the band collar. You need room in a jacket for a shirt and sweater underneath, and to move in. What keeps you warm is the air it traps close to the body...

    I would like to thank you, Peter, for posting almost every single day. I so enjoy your projects, insights and instructions! You have helped improve my sewing.

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  22. I noticed no one commented about your idea to gather/cinch the low back, which I think would be a fantastic solution to wanting more shaping without losing the ability to layer like mad. I like the idea of the band collar and the back yoke point; these styles don't usually appear together and I think that the combo is fun and contemporary. Also, a band collar is easy to layer with scarves without adding tremendous bulk around the head/neck/shoulders.
    A couple of folks mentioned leather accents and I think that would also be a great way to increase the differentiation between Kathy's coat and this one should you choose the melton! A warm, caramel/camel brown would be lovely with the pink.
    If you choose a flap-pocket style I would be curious if you would also include a side-entry option? I know I use my pockets more in winter and the comfort and ease of getting in and out is key for me in making sure I actually use and wear the coat.
    Exciting!

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  23. Any way you look at it, there's nothing like going out and trying on jackets til you find the style/fit that's best--then measure the heck out of it in the dressing room. At least that way you will have answered alot of questions here, and can draft your pattern alterations from those measurements.

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  24. Does anyone else miss the polyester sheet muslins? These beige things are soooooo boring!

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  25. Sewgranny - I do! I was just thinking the same thing.....

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  26. The simplicity is essentially a shirt-jacket; that's clear to see from the sleeves. Any such jacket can be developed from a basic shirt pattern. The one with epaulets would be easiest.
    To have a jacket more like a leather jacket it would need two-piece set-in sleeves. In my opinion this is really necessary; shirt style sleeves on a jacket look quite unstylish.

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